Monday, November 30, 2009

sweep, sweep, sweep, scrub, scrub, scrub

Monday, November 30, 2009

Well, today was obviously they day the study abroad advisors were coming to visit Jardines. The plants were trimmed, our rooms cleaned double, and we even have a Christmas tree and decorations in the lobby! WHOA. I met Tim Dohmen at school today, between classes. Paula introduced us as I walked to Grammar. I’m pretty sure I’ve met with him once or twice, but whatever. He said that we can pick wherever we want to go tomorrow for dinner (and it can even be expensive, since it’s on Father Dease’s tab)! Haha. Hmm…well I’d like to go to the Indian restaurant in Nerja—is that too much to ask? J

We had a sub today in Culture. It was the same sub I had had in POE, so I think she recognized me. People in the class were being so stupid—I felt like I was back in grade school! They were trying to tell her we were doing something different than we were supposed to. I had talked with her before class for a little and I think she just stuck with what I told her. Ugh. People can be annoying! Well, regardless, we finished our book, so I don’t know what we’re gonna do for the last 2 days in that class! YIKES! Only 2 more days of Monday-Wednesday classes! Grammar was the same old, same old…I’ll be glad to be done with that class!

Once I got back to Jardines, the ladies were cleaning even MORE. It was ridiculous! Fig was upstairs frantically doing laundry (thank goodness!), Julia was scrubbing the marble floors, and Scarlett was making lunch. I was half convinced they were gonna stay here! When the group finally arrived, I had been on the other side of the residence giving Fig some more laundry to do and had to walk past them. Paula goes “well, there’s one of our students, probably going to clean her room…haha.” Funny, because I actually DID. Fig was a little scary about making sure we did… Anyway, I heard them walking around, but they never made it into my room. I think they liked it…

Lunch was unfortunate. I thought that because we had those people stop by that maybe we’d have something good. I guess it’s a good thing they didn’t say for lunch because we literally got 2 appetizers. It was this salad that we sometimes get before the main course, plus this other stew that we sometimes get for a starter. I was confused. Regardless, it was pretty tasty…just not that filling. Maybe a Shawarma is in the works for this evening if dinner isn’t up to par either.

I started working on a video of all of my photos and video clips that I have so far. Well, the ones that are on THIS computer…and I’m really hoping to get the other ones off of my old one! As of right now, it’s running at about 1 hour and 35 minutes. Maybe I could afford to lose those other photos! Haha. I just thought this would be a good way to show people what I did. I’ll put in little titles and captions where necessary, so it’ll be like you all were right there with me! (Except for that hanging camel-head photo. You really had to be there to get the real feel for that.)

Well, I’m off to finish up some homework and work some more on the video!

Sorry, tortilla.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I got to sleep in a bit, which was nice. Since it was almost lunch time by the time I had gotten ready, Will and I went to our favorite Sunday Chinese food place, just off of Plaza Gracia. I got my normal pan Chino, pollo con salsa curry, helado limon but this time also tried their arroz frito (fried rice). It was preeeeeetty good, and I’m pretty sure Will ended up eating more of it than I did! After that we settled down to do some homework. Yippee...

Later in the evening we were wandering around trying to find some cheap snacks for dinner, but since it was a Sunday evening, most places were already closed. We ran into Sarah on our way home in defeat and she told us she was meeting some people for Indian food. We took her invitation to tag along. It ended up being Will and a bunch of girls, haha, though I’m sure he didn’t mind. It was Will, me, Liz, Sarah, Daryl, Debbie and Mirella. They had just come from a bar where they were watching the Madrid-Barcelona game. I guess the fans were getting pretty rowdy!

Will and I split some rice and tried their Chicken Tikka Masala. It definitively wasn’t nearly as good as the place in Nerja (or Anupma’s!) but it hit the spot! The serving bowls were so cute—they were basically mini woks, set on thick wood paddles. What a creative idea! They also had really good music, a lot of which sounded almost Cirque-y! Apparently Sarah used to do some sort of Indian dance, because she kept going “OH! I USED TO DANCE TO THIS SONG!” Then she proceeded to talk a tiny bit with the waiter in Hindi! This was all after she first spat out “Thanks! I mean, shokran! Wait…gracias!” I guess that’s proof our minds really are going for a spin over here!

Merete and I cleaned up the room a bit because the board of study abroad advisors is coming to visit Jardines tomorrow. WOW. I have not seen Fig, Julia and Eugenia clean that much, EVER. Well, I guess it’s good for us!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sierra NevadAHHHHH!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

3 months and counting!

Today was the trip to the Sierra Nevadas. A lot of people still weren’t feeling very good, so it was only Mirella, Daryl and I who went from Jardines. Total, there were about 25 kids of the 54 in AIFS that went. Paula went with us, which was fun to get to talk to her. She was working on the Summer AIFS Granada guide for online, so she was asking us about things like how much Shwarmas cost, entrances to Discos, books, etc. I assume she’s trying to get that ready before the study abroad advisors come on Sunday! This group includes Tim, from St. Thomas. He emailed all of us St. Thomas-ians here in Granada and offered to take us out to dinner on Tuesday. Yippee! Free food on St. Thomas!

Anyway, the Sierra Nevada trip included an hour ride through windy mountains. I guess it was a good thing that some of the people who weren’t feeling so great didn’t go. I even started to feel a bit woozy. Well, we made it to the small ski town, which is just outside of Monachil. The actual ski season doesn’t start until next week—the long weekend, so nothing was really open. Actually, there wasn’t even any snow! Paula said she hadn’t seen it that bare since 1994, the year she got married. They were just starting to make snow further up the ski runs, but I’m guessing they might have to postpone opening day if it’s still like that next weekend! That didn’t really matter. I wasn’t really planning on going skiing anyway. I just wanted to see what the mountains were like. A group of us (Jasmine, Daryl, Erika, Kara, Lauren, Paula and I) sorta walked around together for the whole time. We found these fun Alpine Slide-type things, which were a ton of fun! They weren’t exactly like the ones in Lutsen, because they were more rollercoaster-esque. They were the same cart things but attached to a rollercoaster track! Lauren didn’t want to go, so I had to convince Paula to ride with me, haha. Daryl and Jasmine were in the front cart, and then Kara and Erika, and then Paula and I in the back. Paula made me drive because she didn’t trust herself. Great. The guy at the station was trying to talk to us in very broken English, and we basically responded in Spanish. Then Paula gets up there and goes (in Spanish) “you know they all are Spanish, right?” Haha, the look on his face. We all started laughing and he caught on. Oh, Paula. Always making things awkward. Anyway, we got our carts going, and were taken up the hill on a tow-rope thing. Since everyone else was in front of us, we got to watch them head down the hill before us. That was pretty funny. Then it was mine and Paula’s turn. The signs said “despacio” (slow), but she goes “let it rip, girl”, so we go flying down the track. She starts screaming, and once we get to the bottom, everyone’s ready with their cameras, haha. She tried to jump out of the cart without unbuckling, and since it was automated, the cart kept going with her in it. Luckily I got her unbuckled before she went around for a second time, but that was pretty funny. I’m sure someone got a picture of it! After that, we went to see if the ice rink was open. It wasn’t even frozen yet, so we went to one of the few cafes that was open and sat down for some hot chocolate. It was fun just hearing about other AIFS groups Paula has been with (apparently ours is small with only 54 kids, they usually have 90!) and other details I wouldn’t have known otherwise about Spain and the AIFS programs. We ate our bocadillos there, and then went on a walk to see the view down the mountain. It was beautiful! However, it was super cold too! After a while we went back to the bus. A lot of other people had tried to hike up part of the mountain, but they said it wasn’t very interesting. Oh well! I had fun on the alpine slides and stuff, anyway! The town was really cute and fun to walk around in!

Once back at Jardines, I just worked on some homework and looked up some possible things to do next weekend for the long weekend (we don’t have class Monday or Tuesday). I think I either want to go to the town of Ronda, which is a little past Malaga, or I want to hostel-hop along the Costa del Sol. Either would be a fun way to spend the weekend!

Friday, November 27, 2009

my make-shift family

Friday, November, 27, 2009

Dinner last night was VERY good. I wasn’t nearly as good as food from back home, but who can blame them for not knowing how to make stuffing. We had about 5 courses: bruchetta stuff, soup, main course, dessert, coffee, etc. All of it was pretty tasty! I really enjoyed the blueberry sauce they had for the turkey! The ‘pumpkin pie’ wasn’t really pumpkin pie. It was more like pumpkin flan—a consistency I just couldn’t handle. Well all each had about 5 glasses in front of us: water, white wine, red wine, champagne and a Coke/Fanta. It was funny to watch people decide which glass to drink from. We all sat at one big table, which reminded me of Hogwarts (even though the obviously don’t celebrate Thanksgiving there because it’s England, haha). I chose a spot at the far end so I could get some good pictures of the whole group. Once we all sat down, I then passed my camera down the row and said “take a picture and pass it down”. I think that was the most brilliant idea I’ve had yet, haha. And now I have some very interesting photos that I never would have gotten otherwise! A few other cameras started coming around the table, so I guess other people thought it was a good idea as well. We had a few people make toasts and Ashley sang “I’ll be Home for Christmas” (because we will be)! It was a really fun night—especially seeing everyone dressed up all fancy!

After dinner, we all went out for a bit. We ended up at a karaoke bar, and this other bar called Babylon. Emmy brought her 2 brothers along with her, so that was pretty funny to see them in the middle of the Spaniard’s dance circles every once in a while. Some people had to run home to change shoes, since heels weren’t the best choice for all the walking we were doing. Good thing I packed my flats!

All in all it was a wonderful Thanksgiving, even though I really did miss being with family. I guess, like Paula said, the AIFS group has turned into my make-shift family. Aww.

Anyway, today was a very laid back day. It was the first time in a long time that I actually had the chance to sleep in! We’re always on trips and such and the days are always planned out to start very early. I was happy to wake up in time for lunch J After that, we walked around a bit, enjoying the weather. In the evening, we went to see La Cuenta de Navidad (A Christmas Carol). It said it was for all ages, but I definitely heard some kids crying. I was even terrified! I didn’t know Disney animated movies could be that scary…granted the sound was just super loud as well, so it made it even worse! Overall, it was a very good movie. The detail of the animation was amazing. I had thought it was real people until we actually got into the theater. The posters and such look so realistic!

Time for hot chocolate and some more Monk episodes! I hope we can take over the basement again! Crazy Spaniards and their sneaky tactics of stealing the basement.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

¡Feliz día de acción de gracias!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Well there’s not much to say. It’s a month until Christmas! And…classes were pretty boring. We learned about the Gypsies in culture class, which was sorta fun because we watched a movie. I plan on going to one of their markets our professor told us about. I guess there are 2 main ones in Granada, neither of which are very far away from Jardines. I have no idea what I’d buy (I don’t really need any spices or woven baskets), but I’m sure it would still just be fun to look!

I wish I was back in Morocco! Everyone’s really sick, so it’s kinda quiet around Jardines. I spent most of the day doing homework and just trying to blog about everything. It’s hard to remember everything that happened!

In the evening, we had chicken nuggets for dinner! Will ate almost the whole plate at our table, which was ok considering Daryl and Merete were both sick and eating tortillas, and I just wasn’t very hungry. Still, that doesn’t top the 21 (!) he ate on Daryl’s birthday last time we had them, haha.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

¡Feliz día de acción de gracias!

Tonight we’re going to the nicest restaurant in Granada for a Thanksgiving dinner. It won’t be nearly as nice as having Mom’s food, but it’ll be close (plus I hear they’re having tofurkey anyway…). We get sweet potatoes, turkey and, of course, pumpkin pie! I really hope they have good recipes, haha.

Today in class, Mariangeles felt bad we had to be there, since we’re so used to not having class Thanksgiving day…but that didn’t change anything. Work, work, work. However, almost half of both of my classes were gone anyway. “Traveling”.

After class Will and I walked around a bit to try and work up an appetite. We didn’t make it far…only to Dunkin Coffee before Will decided he wanted something to snack on. And by snack on, he meant buy a box of 6. Oh well, no complaints.

We went back to Jardines and I streamed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was awesome! I didn’t watch the whole thing because Ill wanted me to cut his hair. We’re supposed to dress up really fancy for the dinner tonight, so he thought it would be nice to have a clean-cut hair cut for the evening. I think it looks good! Now I’m all dressed and ready to go. Yippee! I feel bad for everyone who is still sick…maybe they can bring home a plate of food and freeze it until they feel better!

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Mrs. Jacob Black

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I had class at 10:30, so I didn’t have to get up SUPER early. Though I did spend about 2 hours working on a project for Literature after we got back to Jardines the night before. It was a group presentation on a poet/writer named Damaso Alonso. Pretty interesting guy.

A lot of people from AIFS weren’t in class because they had trouble with the food from Morocco. I’m really glad I took the stomach protector!

After school I just did some homework and actually had the chance to watch a little TV. I managed to get downstairs before the Spaniards infiltrated. I went back to my Disney Channel and then watched some of this game show called Password (I think we have it in the states to) that is basically Catch Phrase. Then I watched some Will and Grace, which was funny in Spanish because they talk SO fast. I sometimes even have trouble understanding them in English!

That evening Will and I went to go see Luna Nueva (New Moon). It was in Spanish (obviously), but I understood almost all of it! It was sooooo good, I might have to go again! Merete wants to go for her birthday (December 1), so maybe I’ll go with her then!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

رحلتي الى المغرب

Friday, November 20, 2009

Well the day started early, as I mentioned. Us Jardin-ians left around 4:30 to make it to Neptuno. It was funny to be walking in the streets, surrounded by Spaniards and other people who were still out partying! We walked past Kapital, the disco close to us and there were a ton of people in the plaza. Then when we made it to our bus, it was parked right below Mae West, another disco connected to Neptuno. It was pretty funny to think we were already awake for the next day when they hadn’t even gone to bed yet! Inma and her boyfriend, Raul were there waiting for all of us. Paula and her switch off being “chaperones” for the Morocco trip, considering they aren’t in charge of it—it’s technically a Luxotour trip. While we were waiting for people to show up, I saw something very odd. Our giant bus had parked in this nice little car, and when the guys came out of the disco to get in it, they were a little frustrated. That frustration turned into the ever-so-Spanish “no pasa nada” (don’t worry about it). They had better plans. I could barely see into the car from where I was on the bus, but I clearly saw them snort about 5 lines each of…something off of a CD case. Raul was sitting right in front of me and just started laughing at my reaction and says “está bien, ¿no?”. Hardy har. The guys in the car then just got out and waved to the bus driver and went back in the disco. Classy. Anyway, after starting off the trip with a bang, we drove our 5 hours to Terifa. Busses have laws here where they can’t drive more than 2 hours or so without stopping, so luckily we got a few bathroom breaks. I was feeling a lot better, but still didn’t trust myself enough to eat anything. We made it to the ferry in Terifa with about an hour to spare. We ate our bocadillos and watched the ferries come in. Ours wasn’t very big, but it was relatively nice. After we got our passports stamped and such, we settled in for the 45 minute ride. Once in Morocco they checked our passports again and then we were off on our same giant bus (I initially didn’t know that our driver was coming WITH us). We went and changed some of our Euros in Dirhams before we headed back to the bus. We picked up our tour guide for the weekend and his GPS man (the guy to tell the bus driver where to go). The guide’s name was Jonah, and the GPS was Aniss. It kept confusing me when I’d hear “Jonah!” “Jonah!” all the time from kids on the bus, haha. Anyway, Will and I were sitting up front right behind Jonah so we got to hear all the interesting tidbits he didn’t share over the microphone. For example, we found out he speaks at least 5 languages (Arabic, Spanish, English, German and French…but I’m sure he dabbles in MANY others), and we got our names written in Arabic! Our ferry had let us off in Tangier, so we drove around a bit and took some photos at some touristy places before heading off to Meknes.

I had expected to get odd looks, wandering around in a large group, but we did most of the trip on the bus. We had been told to pack very conservative clothing, and the girls who decided to ignore that tip definitely got the stares. I opted for a cardigan and scarf paired with jeans, even though it was about 80 degrees there!

We stopped in Larache for lunch at this “traditional” Moroccan restaurant. I suspect it was very touristy because there were other tour busses out front and they obviously catered to large groups. As it was with every meal, we had to pay for our drinks, while the meal was included. However, THIS meal wasn’t one I was too fond of. I felt like I had taken a ferry to Japan or something, because when the lady set my plate down in front of me, I flinched. There were a few shrimp staring at me, 5 whole fish deep fried (eyes and all) and then some fried calamari (no, they weren’t onion rings). I took a picture of it, stealthily. I picked at some of it, but just couldn’t force myself to scrape off the scales and fillet the fish myself. I managed (better than some, at least), eating little pieces I could pick off. I think one person started crying. The vegetarians got eggs and hashbrowns…a few people were tempted to tell Inma that they recently switched to vegetarianism.

We then made our way to our (4 star!) hotel in Meknes. I think most of the people were sleeping on the bus, but I decided to try and stay awake to see the scenery. It was sorta dark, but it was still interesting to see the small towns we passed along the way. Sometimes a group of kids would start running alongside our bus, or wave enthusiastically. I also saw this group of men, some sitting and some standing around a table playing cards outside of a cafeteria. I expected them all to have beers in their hands or something, just like in Spain, but they all had cute little bottles of Sprite! I forgot that Morocco is a generally 'dry' country. It was a nice change of scenery compared to that of the beer and tapas-goers in Spain. The roads were pretty narrow, considering it was technically a highway. Our giant bus looked like a monster, and the driver wasn’t about to slow down for anyone or anything (donkeys included). There were numerous times all of us up front thought we were going to crash, haha. Right next to the road there were donkeys pulling carts, people walking, people biking, and other small cars. Our bus would just flash its lights, like all the other cars were doing, and they would try and move out of the way. Sometimes we’d have to squeeze between another larger vehicle and a donkey or something, and I was scared we were going to hit something! Even Imna squealed a bit. I’m still confused as to why they flash their lights…I thought I understood it, but then realized they flashed them randomly at other cars coming towards us as well. Sometimes it seemed like a quick “hello”, sometimes it was a warning to move over a bit for us, and sometimes it seemed like they were just having a light flashing contest. No entiendo.

Anyway, we made it to our hotel and got our room assignments. We ate dinner at their nice restaurant…this time it was a bit more edible. We had vegetable puree soup, some lamb, and then a yummy chocolate torte for dessert. The hotel was very nice. I loved all the decorations, but felt dumb taking photos of them (obviously I did it anyway). After dinner, some of us wandered down by the pool outside and peeked into the disco that was below the hotel. We had read that women who go there are only looking for “clientele”, so we stayed clear of there. However, I was a big fan creeping on the music and lighting! Merete and I roomed together again and had a fun time exploring our giant room. Unfortunately, even though it was a very nice hotel, we still had to make sure to brush our teeth with bottled water!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We ate breakfast around 9:00 and then headed out on our bus about a half an hour later. Jonah was in a traditional dress called a Djellaba. He told us that later in the day we were going to go see where they make them and would have a chance to try them on. While on the bus, he did a nice fashion show for us, haha. Our bus took us around the city while Jonah explained things. Every once in a while we would get off the bus to take photos, or see things closer. We saw the Royal Palace and the gate of Bab Mansour. Here there was a small market which he walked us through. That was quite the shock. I actually remember saying to Will, “and I thought Japan’s market was crazy”. Here they literally had heads of cows just sitting around, and guts hanging everywhere. There were random vegetables and other goods to see, but I couldn’t stop staring at the meat shops. Once we made it out of the market, it was interesting to see everyone’s reactions. Obviously it smelled HORRIBLE, so a lot of people had their noses plugged. Jonah laughed, but had to give this one girl a hug who looked like she was about to cry. His response was “it’s just normal”, which I guess is the truth. Then we kept going on our tour—walking a tiny bit, but mostly on the bus. I guess they’re serious about keeping us safe, because we literally had a police car following our bus the entire time. We also saw the Mosque and mausoleum of Moulay Ismail. Everything was very interesting to see, but I liked just watching the people (and they really liked watching us too)!

We then departed for Fez. It was about an hour and a half bus ride. We ate at another (more traditional) restaurant. We had little plates of appetizers and then got some more lamb. It was pretty good! Surprisingly, a lot of the people spoke English—but I assume that was because they deal with a lot of tourists.

After lunch we toured Fez a bit. We picked up our local tour guide, Habibi (which, in Arabic, means “my eyes, my love, my everything”, sorta like the English version of “darling”. The female version is: Habibati). He was probably the best guide we have ever had. Fez is a medieval city, and so we got to see the Bab Jeloud gate, the medersa (a Koran school) and then we stopped at some typical craft shops. The first one we stopped at was this pottery/ceramics place. We had a tour and got to see where they make all of their mosaic tiles for the gates to the palaces and mosques. Here they had a very tempting gift shop (as they did at all of the craft shops we visited). They had everything from teapots and plates to hookas and 5 foot tall vases. Most people opted for mugs or bowls. Then Habibi took us on a tour through the Medina, the market place. There were over 9000 streets, he said, and even though we probably only went though about a hundred or so, he knew literally EVERYONE. I loved being at the front of the tour with him because he would give us little tidbits of info about each shop, or the people who work in the different tiny shops. At one point, he had Kyle ask one guy to buy a sheep. Another time, he tried to make me touch a dead camel head. Will was fed some random guy’s soup—just because Habibi wanted him to try it. He was always cracking jokes on people. For example: there were these 2 kids who fell off their bike right in front of us. He rushes over to pick them up, and then leans down to the air thing on the tire of the bike. He pretends like he untwisted it, and then makes a hissing noise. The kids freaked out and thought he had actually let the air out of the tire. It was hilarious (once the kids realized it was HIM making the noise)! He did this a few other times throughout the tours. Habibi kept us moving through the streets, while stopping every so often to chat with someone. Apparently he owned a workout facility a while back, and so a lot of the people he knew was from his time running that. (He challenged Will to an arm wrestle on the bus—and won. Not so shabby for an old guy!) Whenever he wanted to get our attention, he’d just yell something like “HABIBIS!” and we’d all know where to go. I can just imagine what it sounded like to the locals: “Darlings! This way!” Anyway, the shops in the Medina had just about everything. We stopped in a few, including a spice shop (and herbal medicine) where we basically snorted this black stuff that cleared up my stuffy nose. Merete got a makeover with their traditional eyeliner and this cool lipstick that looked green, but went on as a beautiful red. There they also had plenty of spices and herbal creams and oils that some people bought for presents. We then went to the Djellaba shop. We had a nice fashion show from Habibi as well as some “volunteers”. After, we were all allowed to try on any outfit to take pictures in. Inma and Jonah reminded us that we had our fancy dinner that night, and that it might be fun to have an outfit to wear! Seeing as the outfits were pretty cheap (and we could try and barter them down, eek!) about half the group ended up getting something to wear. I opted for the cheapest outfit—it’s a 1 piece dress that…well, it’s difficult to explain, but basically it looks like a cute, saggy diaper. It’s black with gold embroidery. I figured I could wear it for Halloween, themed parties, our ethnic Christmas celebration, etc. Will and a few of the other guys ended up getting plain Djellabas. I think Will’s looks like something straight out of Star Wars. Like a Jedi or an Ewok, or something. You’ll see the pictures.

After that, we wandered around the tiny streets of the market some more. They were so compact, and there was stuff hanging all over the place. For the vendors to get into their shops, they have ropes hanging down, and they’d swing into them. Talk about circus-friendly! Obviously the streets weren’t big enough for cars to drive through, but every once in a while, there would be someone shouting “BALAK!”, which basically means ‘get out of the way’. That means that there was a donkey, or a train of donkeys trotting down the street with stuff piled high on their backs. They all reminded me of the donkeys at the donkey sanctuary—except they weren’t all following me around for food! All the time, though, we did have kids and older people following us around, trying to sell us little souvenirs, like keychains, fez hats, leather purses, etc. One of the kids was with us for BOTH of the days. He wasn’t annoying or anything, just sorta wanted to hang out with us. He spoke pretty good Spanish, so we talked to him via Spanish (since our Arabic was limited to: No, Yes, Please, Thank you, Habibi). Once we walked back to the bus, our police officer had to sorta shoo him away, haha.

Then we went back to our (5 star…yet still couldn’t drink the tap water) hotel to get ready. We all put on our fancy outfits. I had to wear mine with flip flops that I had thrown into my bag just in case (luckily I did, or else I would have been wearing my Converse). Inma and Raul showed up decked out in theirs—they looked the most legit of us all. We just looked like tourists trying too hard, but it was fun! We took a lot of photos, and then hopped back on the bus to go to our dinner show! It was at this restaurant/store called the Palacio Al Firdaous. There was a small band playing fun traditional music when we walked in. I grabbed a spot facing them, but along the wall, so I was sitting on a big couch. It was soooooo comfy! Why haven’t the states picked up on that trend yet? I also had a clear view of where the belly dancers would be! Sweet! We took some more photos before (and after) our food arrived. There were some kebabs, some more appetizers, and then some giant pieces of chicken. It was a ton of fun—especially once the belly dancers started picking people out of the audience to dance. We got Inma up there at one point! I have pictures (though they’re sorta dark) of all of them. Then there was this other band/dance group that came out. It was about 5 or 6 guys who just marched around with their drums, singing loudly. By the end they had almost our whole AIFS group up there with them, dancing in circles. There were about 4 tables that weren’t AIFS kids, and even some of them joined in! Then, I noticed that the Indian couple from next to us was missing. Their friends were still there, but I soon found out where they had gone. Apparently it was their 25 year anniversary, and they got dressed up in traditional Moroccan wedding clothing and were walked around the restaurant. It wasn’t until then that we found out they were actually from New York…they were just as surprised, and asked us to take photos with them, haha.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Well, breakfast was interesting. We had juice, hard boiled eggs and a TON of bread. Croissants, more croissants with stuff on them, croissants with stuff in them, and then these fun pancake-type things. They reminded me of Anupma’s chipati’s…for BREAKFAST! Yum! Oh, and what also made breakfast interesting was that we found out the one belly dancer girl from the dinner the night before actually works at that hotel. I think she was a bit embarrassed that we recognized her!

After breakfast we loaded up the bus and headed off to see more of Fez. We saw the Royal Palace, which was fun because the king was actually there. Habibi told us that was why we had seen so many police guards around the city. Who knows, I’m sure Habibi knows the king too…he honestly did seem to know everyone and their mother. Then we went through the Jewish quarter, called the Mellah, and the north fortress. This was part of the Medina, so it meant more walking through the tiny streets! Horray! This time we also stopped at some scarf shops and tapestry places. Seeing them in action was really cool. I got a few scarves to bring home! Habibi challenged Will to a pull up contest on this construction rigging, which was interesting. The locals thought that was pretty hilarious. (See video when I get home.) After walking through and seeing the many entrances to the mosque that’s inside the Medina, we headed back to the hotel for a quick (buffet) lunch. As we do with all the buffets we have encountered, the AIFS clan ate just about everything they offered us. Unfortunately I think that hurt some people in the long run… Anyway, we said goodbye to Habibi, who told us we need to all bring our families to meet him (okay, Mom?…Dad?).

We hopped back on the bus for a nice 5 hour long trip back through the tiny “highways” up to Tangier. Half way there, we had to switch out our tour guide, Jonah, for a new one, Abdul. We literally stopped on the side of the street, and then another tour bus pulled up facing the other way and the guides switched. We were all sad to see him go, but he was Luxotour’s only guide who could also speak German, so he had to be transferred to that group. Oh well…though we wouldn’t realize how much we missed him until our tour of Tangier.

Anyway, we had a few more near-accident encounters with donkeys and other cars, but I loved the scenery while it was still light out. I saw a lot of interesting things on the side of the road, too…like a dog eating a donkey, tons of sheep being herded, a dancing chicken, another dog eating a left-behind sheep, etc. I had been waiting for an email back from Mostapha (my CJ coach) because his sister lives in Tangier. He wanted me to meet her, and so he was going to send me her number. I didn’t get it until we were ON the bus on the way to Tangier, but I tried it anyway. Unfortunately she didn’t really speak much English at all, and after she found a translator (and I tried communicating with about 20 other people in French, Spanish, Arabic, etc.) they realized they had plans that night and we wouldn’t be able to meet. (Sorry for that phone bill, Mom.) I was really bummed that I wouldn’t be able to meet her, but we were scheduled to start our tour Monday at 9, so I wouldn’t have any time to meet up. By the time we got to the hotel, it was time for dinner, so we just ate dinner and went to bed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

We started our tour of Tangier pretty bright and early. The city was a LOT more modern than Fez, and it was obvious they wouldn’t have the same sort of handicraft options as they did in Fez (Fez is the handicraft capital). We did see the Petit Socco and had lunch at a typical restaurant (finally, couscous!). We got to go ride on camels! That was pretty interesting! There were 2 connected together, so Marisa and I decided to go together. I got on mine first (the front one) and hers started to sniff my hair. YIKES! And then after I got off of mine, I went to pet its head. It was really, really fluffy! THEN it turned and bit my thigh! Meany. His teeth weren't sharp or anything, and the owner guy thought that was pretty hilarious. Everyone there was laughing and then decided to all try and take pictures as close as they could to it without getting bit at. It was a pretty interesting game... Once we were walking around the town I realized that our new guide was sorta weird, and didn’t really tell us much about anything. He just kept saying “take a picture of this, this is nice”. He had us stop in weird stores, where he obviously was getting commission on anything we bought. Most of us caught on, and it started to get pretty annoying. However, he did take us to some nice photo ops. We had “free time” at this one area for about an hour and a half where we got to go in some more traditional shops. Kids had fun bartering for things (ask for 40% of what they initially say!) and drinking mint tea (the traditional drink). Emmy called one of the waiters “Habibi”, and he immediately spun around and had this huge smile on his face. Whoops, haha. He thought it was funny, and so every time he saw her from then on, he’d yell “habibi!” and she’d yell it back, haha. We also got hennas from this lady that Abdul had called in. I tried to get some photos of mine, but I’m not sure how they turned out. It’s all over my left hand and down my pointer finger. Everyone’s was different, and Raul even got his name in Arabic on his forearm! That was fun, but then we had one more quick bathroom stop before we headed over to our ferry. This bathroom stop ended up being at a hotel that Rick Steves stayed at! The guy in the gift shop had a photo of his family with Rick up on his wall, with a nice note from him. I snapped a creeper photo of it to put in my Spain/Morocco 2009 Rick Steves tour book. I just looked, and Rick in his books says “Jimmy, who’s always around and runs the shop adjacent to the lobby, says he offers everything but Viagra. When I said, “I’m from Seattle,” he said, “206.” Test him, he knows your area code.” It was ridiculous. You’d tell him where you were from, and he’d just spit it out. I guess Rick liked the place, because it’s first under the “$$-priced” Tangier hotels.

At 4 we hopped on our ferry (this time it was a lot larger and nicer) and took our 45 minute ride to Terifa. We got back on the bus after our bags were searched and then made our 5 hour journey back to Granada. We stopped twice, but that wasn’t enough for some people. I guess the food and tap water that people mistakenly ate kicked in, and at least one person puked on the bus. Regardless, the ride also consisted of a karaoke contest—we had both an opera singer and an Adele-sound-alike on the bus, as well as Armand who serenaded Inma more than a couple times and Nora, who had a spot on impersonation of Brittney Spears. Inma sang a bit back to Armand, but much preferred to dance up and down the aisles. Who knew she was so crazy. She even grabbed the tour giude microphone from the bus driver a couple times. Raul got a few chants, but refused to do anything…the bus driver suggested a striptease, and he refused that as well, haha. Then we had a nice bus-wide sing-along of “Feliz Navidad”, before Inma informed us it is bad luck to sing Christmas “charols” before Christmas. It was quite eventful, but I was glad to get back to Granada. Even though it was 12:30am.

Of course this would happen the day before we left for Morocco

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I woke up puking, but still tried to go to class. I didn’t last too long, and ended up going home after just half of my first class. The rest of the day was pretty much sleep-filled. I was a bit nervous, knowing I had to get up at 4:00am to hop on a bus to Morocco. 5 hours to our port, 45 min ferry ride, and then another 6 hours driving to Meknes. That wasn’t want I wanted to think about…but it’s Morocco! I wasn’t about to miss it! I packed and then took another quick nap before getting up and running over to the bus leaving from Neptuno.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Vamos campeón!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today I kinda took it slow and slept a bunch after class again. I didn’t even make it down to lunch. I did a little work on my U of M application and then we had our championship fútbol game! All of the players from the residencia (Will, Adam and I) had gotten bocadillos ahead of time for dinner. Yummmm, jamon y queso.

Adam and Kyle had sorta scoped out the team we were playing and knew they had a few good players. We were missing Mike who had left for Prague earlier today, but we managed to keep a solid defense without him. I didn’t play too much because I still wasn’t feeling that great…but that still isn’t an excuse for me not scoring! Sorry team! Haha. There was a kid from my Literature class on the team, which was sorta funny because he was trash talking a bit in class. I guess tomorrow might be a bit awkward…for him at least. We considered calling the AIFS emergency phone (that Paula keeps on her at all times) to tell her we won, but we decided she can just find out tomorrow, haha. I guess we’ll get a trophy and t-shirts! Yay! I had given my camera to Daryl and some other of the fans who came to watch to take photos of the game. Hopefully I can get those up at some point before I come home! We also got a nice team photo after the game J Way to go AIFS aphids!

Now it’s time for a shower and then tapas!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Germs and German

Ugh. I’m getting sick again! I really hope it goes away before Morocco! I went and bought some medicine…the same stuff everyone else had bought when they were sick, so hopefully that helps. Though…it sorta makes you sleep all the time. I haven’t done any homework yet today! Yikes! Today classes went super slow. It was quite unfortunate. Though, we did get our exams back in Literature. I got a 9.75! Score. Let’s just hope I can keep that up throughout the rest of the semester…

Oh and today I thought I started understanding German. Well first of all, I was a bit confused as to why my Mariangeles was speaking German to us, but then found out it’s actually a Spanish word. It’s just “FIJAOS”, but I’ve never actually seen it written down, and it sounds like “fee-how-ohs”. German, right? Nope. It just means “y’all, pay attention”. No wonder she uses it all the time.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Churros y...clase?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Culture class today started out pretty rough. We got our exams back, but that wasn’t the bad part. She literally just read from our packet…something I had already read last night for homework! I swear she told us to read it, and a few other kids had done the same thing, so we were all pretty bored. BUT, during the break between the first and second hour of her class she went to Café Futbol and bought us all churros! She brought them back in this giant bag and we got to eat those for the rest of class! She claimed that it's just a part of Spanish gastronomia, but then admitted that she was just craving them. Will and I ended up getting a 9 on our presentation on Murcia and the Canary Islands (yay Victor and Florian!) and I got a 9.6 on my written exam. Decent, but it sorta made me angry that the only thing I got wrong was the foods from different provincias…which I KNEW. Anyway, the churros almost made up for that. Almost.

Grammar class wasn’t that exciting either. We worked on a new verb tense (surprise, surprise) and then got our exams back. I did decent, but she graded realllllllly hard, so I didn’t feel too bad about that. After class I took a siesta and then did some homework. We have this project for Literature on a poet named Damaso Alonso that is due the day after we get back from Morocco (Nov. 24), so I figured I should start working on that.

Tonight for dinner we had fish sticks, this stuff that was like coleslaw with rice, and then these fried mini empanadas that actually tasted like Indian samosas. The filling was a bit weird—tomato paste—but I was excited to have something different! At dinner, we found out that one of the kids from the residence, Alan, has to go home because his Spanish visa isn’t long term. I’m not sure on the facts, but it looks like he’ll be leaving next Tuesday to go back home to New York. Oh no! We’ll miss you Alan!

Well, it’s time for a little more homework! I’m just glad mid-terms are over! J

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Nair" jaja (aka Nerja)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Will and I made a spur of the moment decision Thursday evening which sent us on a bus to Nerja at 4pm. FIRST OF ALL, I got up rather early because I had signed up for our AIFS tour of Federico Garcia Lorca’s house. Daryl, Merete and I were on our way to the house, which is in the Garcia Lorca park, when we saw something pretty funny. They have exercise machines in this one part of the park that I hadn’t seen before. There were a couple old people on them, and they actually looked really fun! They had a military press, something that looked like an Elliptical machine and a bunch of others. They were play-ground style…made out of thick dark green metal pipes. It was just funny to see these people hanging out in the park, working out. My favorite was the guy in his dress pants and nice shirt who looked like he just stopped there on his way to work, or Mass, or something. Haha.

Anyway, after the tour I headed over to the AIFS office to print out my Ringling Bro. Barnum and Bailey’s tickets! Malaga, here we come! Well, actually Nerja…and then Malaga! After deciding to go see the circus, we decided to make a trip out of it. We budgeted ourselves to 60 Euros for the whole weekend, and were trying to figure out a way to do so. It ended up that it was a LOT cheaper to stay in Nerja at the Hostal we had stayed at a few weeks ago…between the tickets and places to stay. We tried to make reservations for a place in Malaga, but it was 3 times the price of the place in Nerja, so we booked our (cheaper) tickets and hostal reservation in Nerja! I was excited to go back to get some more Chicken Tikka Masala!

So at around 2 we left for the bus station. We got there and tried to buy our tickets at the do-it-yourself station, but it wouldn’t take our credit cards, so we had to go to the info window. There, we had a little trouble communicating our need for a return trip ticket as well, but ended up getting what we needed…after a bit of time. I blame everything on it being Friday the 13th…which my mom tells me now has no significance in Spain. I’ll have to check that out. We waited a little for our bus and then hopped on and made our way to Nerja once again. The guy at the hostal remembered us right away (“otro vez!”) and gave us a choice between two rooms!

We wandered around the city a bit before going to get our favorite Indian food (still…not better than Anupma’s). The lady there remembered us too…awkward, haha. I didn’t care because I had been craving it for such a long time! We spent the rest of the evening on the Balcon de Europa before heading back to the hostal. I was going to check the bus times to Malaga on the one computer they have at the hostal, but when I looked through the window, I saw that the manager guy was on it, Skyping someone. I started to turn around, but saw him motion for me to wait. He then told me to come over and say hi. He goes: “Mi mujer!” and points to the screen. I recognized the lady who had been there when we had stayed at the hostal before. They were talking loudly in Russian, but I understood when he told her I was one of the Americans that was back for the second time (apparently that Tikka Masala has magical powers…I understand all sorts of languages). He turned the web-cam towards me and I waved and said hola, haha. I thought it was funny. Anyway, I found out the bus to Malaga would be around noon the next day. Time to rest up for circus…who knows, maybe the cloudswing girl wouldn’t be feeling well and they’d need a substitute J

Saturday, November 14, 2009

We made it to Malaga around 1:30. Will was starrrrrving so we ate at McDonalds. Classy. THEN we were looking around to try and figure out exactly where the Palacio de Deportes was. I had looked online and it didn’t seem that far, so we decided to at least try and walk. We didn’t get going until around 2:30, so I figured we would be okay on time. Nope. Granted Will was telling me the time PLUS 10 minutes, we still didn’t make it to the Palacio with much time to spare! We’re lucky they were on “Spanish time” because that meant they didn’t start until about 4:20. We walked for literally an hour and a little more, which was actually pretty fun! We got to see a lot of the city, even though we didn’t really know where we were going. By the time we got there, we had already decided we were going to take a Taxi back to the bus station after that show or else we’d miss our 7pm bus back to Nerja!

Okay…the show. The arena was relatively small…it was a one-ring circus, and I immediately spotted the cloudswing ring and the Wheel of Death. First of all, they started out with this cute mini program and also let the kids and their parents down onto the floor to dress up in costumes, try out their tiny low wire, and learn how to juggle, etc. They didn’t let us down on the floor…I guess Will didn’t look old enough to be my dad (just kidding). I liked watching all the little kids run around, excited just to be near the ring. I picked out the cloudswing girl and the guy who did Wheel from the pictures Jim from C4Y had sent me.

Overall it was a pretty good show. I was a little disappointed with the cloudswing routine, considering it was about…3 tricks long. Maybe it was because it was a matinee. I really enjoyed the clowns (who spoke about 4 different languages) and the 5 little wiener dogs. I tried to get some photos and videos (videos worked better). The lion act was a bit odd…I’m about 98% sure they ended that act after it was only ¼ the way done. The lions weren’t very responsive and 3 of them actually got into a fight. 2 just ran back into their cages, and one kinda actually listened. The trainer was speaking to them in English, and I could hear him mumble things like “well that wasn’t it”, etc. Too bad…and a bit scary, but their roars were cool! Also included in the show were 3 elephants (1 which couldn’t stop going to the bathroom…the shovel-boy had his work cut out for him), a tumbling team, a cross-bow guy, the Wheel of Death guy and a group of 3 jugglers (1 girl and 2 guys) who were actually really good.

After the show we walked back for a bit before we found a Taxi. Luckily we didn’t decide to try and run back because we found out that our 7pm bus was actually leaving at 6:45! Yikes! We made it back to Nerja and went to find some food. Don’t laugh…we had Indian food again. The lady didn’t even have to ask for our name this time on the take-out order. Almost everything else was closed because it is very off-season by now. Oops!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Our bus back to Granada didn’t leave until 2:30 so we left our bags at the hostal and headed out to the beach. I decided against swimming, even though it was REALLY nice out (about 80 degrees). It has been so chilly in Granada that I forgot to shave my legs, but I guess my emergency ‘Nair’ frenzy was un-necessary, jaja (that’s Spanish for “haha” J). Regardless, Will had fun ‘bouldering’ on the rocks under the Balcon. I got some good photos, which I’m sure will be up shortly! I also tried to help him learn how to juggle...but using rocks from the beach was a bit painful! There were also 2 guys on weird sailing things…they were sitting in these chairs with giant fans behind them and huuuuuuuuuge parasailing sails behind them. One guy kept flying pretty low over the Balcon…it was fun to watch!

We grabbed our bags from the hostal and walked across the street to the bus stop. Before we left, the manager goes: “vemos la próxima vez!” meaning “we will see you the next time”. Haha. Maybe we’ll be back!

We got back to Granada around 4:30 and when we were getting on the local bus to go back to Jardines, we ran into Marta, who was dropping her boyfriend off to catch his bus. A funny coincidence. I didn’t think I knew enough people in Granada to run into someone!

We saw a billboard for the movie 2012 on our way back so we planned an evening around that. Being as awkward as we usually are, we didn’t realize their seats are numbered in the larger movie theaters (all the other movies we have seen have been in the small ones). Me: “Why is no one sitting the middle?” Ohhh…that’s why. Also, it was interesting to see that literally EVERYONE in the movie theater was eating something. I saw people opening up bocadillos and other things that were obviously not from the movie theater. I guess they aren’t so strict on that policy here. Whew. Some people had literal bags of food they had brought with them…the girl in front of us had a bag of marshmallows she downed before the movie even started. It was like a feeding frenzy. Craziness! The movie was really good, even though I probably only understood about 75% of it. It was basically a mixture between War of the Worlds and The Day After Tomorrow…both good movies! Now, I’m trying to decide whether or not to go see Luna Nueva when it comes out this Thursday at midnight…tempting. J

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lost in always

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yay! Thursday! Today we had a sub, Emilia, in my POE class. She was really nice, but a lot of the class wasn’t very nice to her. We learned a lot of vocabulary relating to objects around the house…most of which probably didn’t stick. Whoops. Then Mariangles was there for Literatura and we started the next tema (theme). We went over different art movements, which I enjoyed. I took a Visual Communications class last semester at UST so I actually sorta knew what was going on! Monkey Man (aka Bob Craig), my professor would have been proud! Then again, I didn’t really know how to explain any of it in Spanish, so my knowledge was…lost in translation.

After class today I spent some time doing homework just so I won’t have to think about it this weekend. Tomorrow we have a tour of Garcia Lorca’s house and then my Safari Photo group is going around to take our photos. That should be fun. I’ve walked around the Garcia Lorca park, but I haven’t ever been to his house! Then, Will and I are in the midst of planning out a trip to Malaga for Saturday to go see Ringling Bros. I really hope that can happen, but it depends on bus availability! I’m also trying to plan something for the long weekend we have over the first weekend in December. Everyone else seems to have been all over the place, so I’ve been trying to get suggestions. Of course, I’d love to go to Italy again, but flights looked pretty expensive! Another group of people suggested Greece, which would be amazing! Hopefully I can find a relatively cheap flight! J

I forgot to mention a fun incident that happened on Tuesday night. Will and I were studying for our Grammar mid-term when we heard a knock on the door. It was Marta from next door. She had this paper she had written in English that she needed edited. It was very difficult trying to explain some things to her, but the paper in general was really good! She had some minor things here and there that we eventually explained to her, in a mixture of English and Spanish. Then she offered to help us with our Grammar, which was nice, but we politely declined because there was no hope in saving us. Haha. She thought that was funny.

Well, time for some relaxation time! Yay! I’ll finally have the chance to dig into my goodie box from home! (Thanks, Mom!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Follow the Smelly Brick Road

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dios mío! Finally I’m done with my mid-terms. That was quite the whirlwind. I studied, studied, studied for what ended up being an hour and a half grammar mid-term. I don’t even know what the Preterit Perfect is in ENGLISH! Yikes! Anyway, I think all of my studying paid off in the end because at least I think I understood the test! Then again, I wouldn’t put down an answer I thought was wrong…

What confuses me is the fact that many people (and I really mean a lot of people) didn’t study for any of these tests. I’d hear them sitting behind me saying to each other “Hey, did you study?” “Nah, I was out last night…oh well.” I mean, it might just be me, but I would FAIL those tests if I didn’t study! I feel like yes, you should take advantage of your time here, but you should also use it to take in your classes! Ugh. Anyway, that’s just me being frustrated that I put so much work into things. I will be very surprised if they do well though! I don’t think I even did well with all my studying!

We had our second soccer game today…it was the semi-finals. Haha. Next week is the championship game! The AIFS basketball team has already won their championship and it looks like the volleyball team will win theirs, so there’s a bit of pressure to do well next week! It was freeeeeezing out (well, freezing because we were all in shorts), so we all moved a bit slower than normal. Regardless, we won 6-1 or something. I scored again! (Another outside-of-the-foot shot!) Wish us luck next week!

Oh! I also got a fun package from home! It had a lot of yummy snacks that I’ve been missing over here! The chocolate tastes reallllllly weird. I have no idea why! I guess Spain just has lots of odd tastes…and smells! Oh! So I’m pretty sure the sewage line runs about…1 centimeter under the sidewalks here because every once in a while you’ll be walking and get this nasty whiff of SOMETHING. The brick streets have grates in them every so often and I’m pretty sure I’ve pin pointed those as places to avoid. However, sometimes on crowded streets (um…all of the streets) it’s difficult to avoid them. Then there are the dogs that just go to the bathroom all over. I was reading my 20 Minutos newspaper again today on the way to school and almost didn’t dodge a few different…presents left by dogs on the streets. It’s disgusting, but they have a pretty good system of cleaning it up. They have people in these navy blue and reflective striped outfits that wheel garbage carts around the streets and clean up everything. Looks like a pretty gross job, but they keep the city looking nice for the most part.

Speaking of looking nice—they put up Christmas decorations on the main streets! There are big lights stringed across. I haven’t seen them at night yet, but I’m super excited to see them lit up!


Monday, November 9, 2009

Allllllrighty. This day was officially dedicated to studying. Well, first of all I got up a little earlier than normal (around 7:10) to study a bit before I went to take my Culture mid-term. It turns out the teacher decided to make the test NOT multiple choice, but fill in the blank/paragraph answers. She told us this right before we started. I had spent a LOT of time memorizing all 17 comunidades autónomas of Spain and a food famous from there, but that was worthless. She said we could memorize ANY food from there and then write it down, but on the test she had already picked them! I knew about 5 out of the 10 she had. Stupid. Other people said they had the same problem, so maybe she’ll figure that out when she corrects them. Other than that…I think I was able to do decently well!

Literally right after I got home from taking that mid-term (well, after Grammar class), I started studying for my literature mid-term. For some reason NONE of the info would stick! I don’t know what it was…I mean it’s not THAT boring. So, needless to say, studying for that was rough. I made a 12 page hand written study guide for myself. My hand hurt pretty bad after that! Anyway, I studied for the rest of the night with a little break for food (Dominoes!).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And….this day was also dedicated to studying. Well, after I took my literature mid-term. Luckily the things I had studied the most were on it (and the teacher actually formatted the test how she said she was going to). It included 4 essay questions (and had to pick 2) and one poem that we had to analyze. I chose the essay questions about Teatro Romántico and Poesía Romántica. I think I did pretty well, but my hand really did hurt after that. I wrote for almost 2 hours straight! It was really funny because she gave us some scratch paper and I literally FILLED that paper right away so I wouldn’t forget anything (I could barely remember it in the first place). She looked at me like I was crazy…but she’ll understand once she reads my test J

THEN I studied for my Grammar mid-term. Will and I tried to study for this one at Dunkin Coffee, but Spaniards are just tooooooo loud, so we gave up and came back to Jardines. I feel like I haven’t gotten to do anything fun these past few days…I’ve just been sitting on my bed making study guides! How boring!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Alubias, Habas, El Fruto Musical

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Last night I think there was a house party (fiesta de la casa?) across the street from Merete and I last night. Literally the whole night there were people outside talking. Loudly. I don’t know if the walls here are just super thin, or if they really were yelling the whole time. There was music and such too—it was nuts. I thought they might give up around 6am, but no. They definitely were still going strong.

Today I spent literally the whole day studying for my Culture mid-term tomorrow. Well, I did take a short break to go to Dunkin Coffee to get a “Moka Dunkalatte” (basically a Mocha). It was very good, and it was much needed after sitting here on my bed for 6 hours straight trying to force myself to be interested in the influences of the Romans in the Mediterranean diet. The title of this blog comes from something I was trying to translate. There are SO many words for each thing in Spanish it seems (well, to be fair, I guess it’s similar in English). For example, I searched “Alubias” and then searched “Habas” right after. I giggled when the translator replied “beans, beans”. Anyway, I had to bundle up to go get coffee…that’s how chilly it has gotten here! I don’t really have a jacket, so I just wore 2 cardigans. That seemed to work, and I actually saw a lot of other girls with layers like that, so I guess that’s part of the Spanish fashion (“moda”). Score one for Maria for accidentally fitting in.

Right now Will’s procrastinating from studying by trying to crack the Microsoft 2008 Word key online. I don’t think he’s having much luck. His notebook looks like this: “AJK834OFQQGKS385, SGIS8327GOWSJ5, 28FSKJL22GN4SP” when it should say “Los Romanos tienen una influencia muy grande…” J He spends quite a bit of time over in our room since his side of the building doesn’t have internet. Merete is studying too…though she also went out earlier to get away for a bit. It gets so dark out so fast here that she said she basically ran home! I think we’ve all settled in for the night…studying and Hipercor snacks.

It was an interesting discovery today when we realized we only have 17 days left of class. WHOA. I feel like once we get to the Morocco trip (November 20-23), that will be the beginning of the end. Once we get back from that trip, we have Thanksgiving dinner that Thursday. It’s a sad feeling, but also happy because it’ll be nice to get back home (no more house parties just 10 feet away across the street, no more noisy motos, etc)!

Anyway—back to studying. I guess I’ve been doing my own procrastinating!

Maria: the brunette rabbit-eater.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ugh, classes early this morning. They were our “recuperacion clases” (recovery classes) because of all of the holidays we have had on Monday/Wednesday classes. I just had Culture and Grammar (some people had 3 or 4 classes), but it still wasn’t the way I wanted to spend my Friday morning!

After lunch, Will and I ran over to the AIFS office before they closed. He had heard that he had a letter there, and they close at 3 on Fridays (and aren’t open on the weekends), so he wanted to get it. It turns out it was a nice letter from his dad with sketches of things from when he had studied in Spain, as well as a sketch of MILEY! It was so cute! After that we walked down to Hipercor, the big department/grocery store about a mile away. It’s kind of a long walk, especially when you have 2 bags of things to carry back. I got some snacks to help me through studying for mid-terms this week/weekend. I have one on Monday, one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. Luckily my POE class doesn’t have one…we only have a final. I guess our presentation on the article counts basically as our mid-term. I got my grade back on that the other day—an 8.5 which is equal to an A-. I guess that’s good, considering how much I hate talking in front of people!

For dinner, Will and I went out to this Chinese restaurant we had seen a while ago. They have a really cheap “Menu del dia” (5.95 Euros) where I got white rice, a salad, curry chicken, lemon ice cream and a Coke! Pretty good deal considering a normal plate of curry chicken is 4.15 by itself! Will got basically the same thing, except with “Pan Chino”, which I’m sad I didn’t get because it was a giant bean-paste bun—minus the bean paste. And he also got sweet and sour chicken. I liked being in the Chinese restaurant again because it was a break from Spanish…time to think in CHINESE! I heard them talking about us (but whatever, we WERE the only people in there right at 9pm). Will kept thinking he recognized the songs they were playing…he thought they were some of the new Spanish songs he had gotten from Adam. They all turned out to be in Chinese—go figure. After dinner, we wandered around for a bit. It was kind of chilly, but I didn’t really mind. Still, I should probably buy a jacket considering I’ll be coming home to below zero weather. I didn’t plan that out too well!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I got up pretty early because AIFS has this thing called “safari photograph” going on. It’s a contest where you get in groups of 3 or 4 and go around the city and take pictures at certain places. Then Inma and Paula pick the best photo and that group gets a gift certificate to either the Arab Baths or a restaurant of their choice. They give you a piece of paper with clues to go find the different places, for example, the Cathedral. My group (Daryl, Adam, Will and I) had decided to go out Saturday morning to take the photos, but once I got ready, no one else was up! I guess Adam had gotten home at 6am or something crazy. Anyway, then I found out that they had extended the due date of the photos from this Monday until next Monday. Great, I could have slept in longer! I guess Paula had looked at the weather and saw that it was supposed to be cloudy this weekend and they wanted the photos to be “happy and bright”. It was actually really nice out, but oh well, it gives us some more time!

I ALSO got up pretty early because Elena had her kids with her. They were playing downstairs…some game with slamming doors. FUN. Then, the boy kept yelling for “ELENA”, which I later found out was her little girl’s name too. I guess it’s normal for people to name their first-born girl after the mother. I don’t know what the little boy’s name is, but he looks EXCATLY like his dad (Figs’ son…Elena’s ex-husband…the one who comes to eat lunch here every day). He was so cute with his little stuffed animals! They were at Jardines for the whole morning--until about 4pm.

For lunch we had paella today! That was a first. I was really excited about it, and enjoyed it (minus the “pulpo”, or octopus). There was also other meat in it that we thought was chicken. There were a ton of bones, so I couldn’t eat most of the meat, but I managed to get some of it. It was pretty good! Then, after we were done eating, I think it was Florian who informed us of this…the meat was RABBIT.

After lunch I dyed my hair! Mom had sent me my hair dye because my hair had been fading to blonde again (oh no!). It’s the “30 day” stuff, which actually dyes blonde hair permanently and then just fades, as I’ve figured out. I had dyed it right before I left, so I figured now was a good time to make it dark again! I managed to keep my extensions in while I dyed them, but it was probably pretty funny to watch. I had separated all of my extensions from my regular hair and then Will held those out to the side, Pippi-Longstocking style while I dyed my hair. I think it worked pretty well, but once I DO take out my extensions, it’ll be interesting to see the little pieces that didn’t get dyed!

Then Will and I did a bunch of homework. We started making study guides for our mid-terms this coming week. It’s a lot of work, especially since it’s all in Spanish, so everything (even the study guide) has to be in Spanish! Yikes! We worked on that for about…5 hours. There goes my Saturday.

After that we all ate our bocadillos (tortilla espanola). They were sorta dry considering there wasn’t anything like olive oil or mayonnaise in it. Oh well, it was still good! After that Will and I watched The Village (!). I don’t know how he convinced me to watch a semi-scary movie, but he did. Congratulations. It wasn’t that bad, but still.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Remember, remember...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Remember, remember, the 5th of November. Well, my 5th of November wasn’t that memorable. Nothing truly exciting happened. I had 4 hours of class that felt like it was 8 hours, and now I’m working on a TON of homework for my culture class tomorrow. Our teacher is mad that we have so many holidays (Saint this day and Saint that day) so she’s making us do all the work outside of class instead. Yipee. Oh, and that’s why I have class tomorrow (if you haven’t noticed, we don’t have classes on Fridays normally, but we do tomorrow for a “make up”). I need a gelato.

However, we did have a good lunch. We had this really good pumpkin soup with croutons, and then fries and pork. It was really yummy and made up for the long day of classes. Still, I think I need a gelato. It has been far, far too long.

OH! Wait! There was something exciting that did technically happen today…at around 6:30am. I woke up and had no idea why, but I checked my phone and then went back to sleep. I woke up and had this really weird feeling because I had had a really weird dream about an earthquake (which I thought was because of a Monk episode I watched…) but I guess there ACTUALLY was an earthquake about 20 miles away from Granada this morning. Daryl told me later today that she felt her bed moving a little, and that’s why she woke up. WEIRD. No one else really felt it, but everyone was talking about it today at CLM.

Tonight, Florian helped me get money on my phone. Here was the problem: Last Friday, right before we left I had Will run to put money on my phone. It turns out the guy at the store put the money on a different phone! He typed the number in wrong because he was busy talking to some other guy in the store, so it went to “857” instead of “057”. UGH! Someone got my 10 Euros! So, I couldn’t do anything about it until we got back on Monday, but by then they were closed. And then I had my project and stuff, so today was the first time I had some free time! I took Florian with me because I thought it might end up being an awkward situation. He managed to convince the guy to at least TRY and get the 10 Euros off the other phone and onto mine. The guy in the store was SO shocked when it worked—because it had been 6 days! I guess whoever got my money didn’t use it! Yay! Anyway, that made me happy.

Today I was looking online and saw that Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey (gold unit) are going to be in Sevilla, Malaga and Madrid. I’m seriously considering going down to Malaga next weekend to go see it! I emailed Jim from and asked if he knew anyone on the show, and he said he knew a couple people. I guess there is a really good Cloud Swing act! It would probably make me REALLY miss circus, but I think it would be a ton of fun! I asked some people if they’d want to make a day trip down to Malaga to go see it, and I think there are at least a couple people who are interested! I’m super excited!

Well, I better finish this homework. Or maybe I’ll go get a gelato…tough decision ;)



Here's a link to Will's Nerja photos...enjoy! I'll get my photos up once I get home :/

and...some more:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Aseos de Caballo

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 (Congrats on one year, Obama!)

PRESENTATION! Will and I went first, which was good. I think he talked for…about 25 minutes and I talked for a little over 10. I have no idea how that happened, but our teacher said she really liked it and that we had a lot of good information! (Thank you Florian and Victor!) The other groups that went were only about 10 or 15 minutes total, so that was a bit awkward. I’m just glad we had TOO much information rather than too little. Plus after class our Professora said that time is no issue! Woot! I’m just glad that’s done, so now I can focus on studying for midterms. Joy. Oh, and our Professora also laughed about this one type-o that Will had on one of his slides. It said “Aseos de Caballo” (literally meaning bathrooms of horses) instead of “Paseos de Caballo” (walks of horses/horse riding). Har har…us Americans are so funny with our type-os. J

On our way back from class today, this random older lady stopped us in the street and said “sois de aqui?” (are you guys from here?). She didn’t look like she was a lost tourist or anything, but we were like: no, sorry we’re just students. She seemed surprised but went on her way. I still have no idea what she wanted from us, but it’s always nice to be mistaken for locals. I guess my fast-growing blonde roots haven’t given me away yet! Haha. Which reminds me, I should go dye it again!

Well, I’m off to find some colloquial phrases for tomorrow’s class! Maybe I should ask Florian and Victor again! Nah, they’d probably tell me to say something rude, haha.

J-walkin' with the locals

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I finally figured it out. You know those guys who sell stuff on the streets? They have fake brand-name watches, sunglasses, belts, purses, pirated movies, etc. and they just lay them out on blankets for people to look at when they walk by? I finally figured out what they remind me of! I realized it while watching one guy set out his batch of fake Gucci and D&G bags: they’re like the proud owners of show dogs. They take such good care of all of their products, and try so desperately to sell them to you. The handles of the bags are propped up just so that they look stuffed full with things. I was watching one of the guys, and one of the handles of the bags flopped over. He rushed over and propped it back up, but it wouldn’t stay. So he grabbed the bag by the sides and sort of fluffed it like a pillow and then tried again. This time the handles stayed but he hovered around it for a bit and then basically petted it as if to say “good job, stay like that and I’ll give you a biscuit later.” It was ridiculous. I think I might have to buy one of the bags just to try it out myself.

Anyway. Back to real life without the beach just minutes from my room. Classes actually went by really fast, but once back at Jardines it was difficult to look forward to anything because I had SOOOOO much work to do on my Canary Island project. Will took on Murcia while I typed up all my information. We just BARELY had enough time to print out our sheet for the class before the AIFS office closed. That was another adventure. It was about 5:45 and I figured I would only need 5 minutes on the computer and maybe 5 to get there as well. So I set off, jump drive in hand. I really felt like a local. J-walkin’ with the locals. I don’t think I crossed one street (one of the 3) either way on a green light. It’s just how it’s done here…you get more weird looks if you stand there and wait for the light to change. Sure, it’s illegal here too, but the cars basically wait for you to take your sweet time. HOWEVER watch out for the busses. Those things don’t stop. They just give you one little honk and if you don’t move, you’re toast. But really, it was fun to just run across town (illegally) with the rest of Granada.

Will and I spent the rest of the day just working on our project. After dinner I talked with Florian and Victor some more about the islands. They were still bickering about which one was better. But they did help me with some phrases that are different on the islands than they are here…for example, they call potatoes “papas”, not “patatas”. And they call the bus the “guagua”, not the “autobus”, haha. Will and I made a powerpoint and I wrote up what I was going to say. It was about 4 pages hand written, and Will had the same so I figured we were good to go. It was 1:30am when I finished! Yikes!

Nerja! (Donkeys and Maria, the human sand-bag)

Friday, October 30, 2009

We ended up not going to the Michael Jackson movie on Thursday because I had to pack and the movie didn’t start until 11:40pm (and Will didn’t want to be up that late…wuss).

Merete, Will, Chryssi and I left for Nerja in the morning. The bus Will and I were on was full, so Chryssi and Merete had to go on an earlier bus. The bus ride took about an hour and 45 minutes and when we got to Nerja, I was prepared to walk a bit to our Hostal. However, once we parked, I looked out the left side of the bus and SAW our Hostal! How nice! All we had to do was walk across the street! The guy and his wife who own the place are Russian (we heard them yelling a bit, haha), but spoke to us in Spanish. I have a feeling they also speak English because they were talking to some other US travelers at one point… Anyway, while we were checking in, Merete and Chryssi were heading out to the beach! We set our stuff down and headed out a little after them, but decided to explore the town a bit. We made our way to the Balcon de Europa which is basically a big lookout point. Back in the day it was used for military purposes, but when we were there it was just filled with tourists! Most of the tourists were British, which I thought was interesting! We wandered along the beach (past some restriction signs…) from one little cove to the next. We finally settled in to one and spent hours skipping rocks and sitting in the sand. It was so much fun! We took a ton of pictures as the sun started to set, and then went back to the Balcon de Europa to get a good picture of the sunset! It was really beautiful.

We ended up finding this cute little Indian place to get take out from for dinner. We talked to some of the workers because they weren’t busy at all, and one guy was so excited to talk about his trip to the United States. Pennsylvania. Who woulda thunk. We took the food back to the hostal to eat and it was AMAZING! We got Chana Masala (not nearly as good as Anupma’s!), Chicken Tika Masala and some nan. It was a really good price, so we figured we may have to go back again! However, we realized on the way back to the hostal that we didn’t have any silverware. We stopped at this little Asian Euro store (like the dollar store, except it’s more like the $1.59 store with the stupid exchange rate). We found a pack of 4 forks. Perfect!

Yummy, yummy, yummy. After dinner we went back to the Balcon to sit and watch the people. Will got some gelato, but I was freezing! No one told me it was going to be that cold in the evening! Regardless, it was a ton of fun!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Today we got up pretty early and headed out to the beach. That was a funny thing to do…go to the beach on Halloween. I can’t say I’ve ever done that before! On the way down to the small beach we found on the map, we saw numerous “Halloween Fiesta” signs for clubs and bars and such, and I just had a hard time convincing myself that it was actually October 31. It felt more like…the middle of July. Regardless, it was AWESOME.

We made it to the small beach just to the right of the Balcon de Europa. About 5 minutes after we had sat down, these 2 guys in this tiny boat come speeding up to the shore. There were houses behind us so I just figured they live there. Some other people came out of the houses to meet them, and they were all huddled around the boat. I was a bit confused until…this one guy started walking back to the houses with a rather large bucket. Squirming around in it were 2 live octopuses. Live. Grabbing at his arm. He grabbed the one by the head (or face, or whatever you call it) and lifted it out of the bucket so it wouldn’t grab at his arm any more. He proceeded toward the house closest to us, but stopped short at this wooden panel. He then butchered both of them RIGHT there. Chop, chop, chop. It was rather gruesome…but quite Halloween-y!

I got my enough of my appetite back about 20 minutes later to eat my Napolitana pastry (square shaped chocolate-filled croissant). It was just around that time when I was looking out at the Sea and noticed some weird clouds out in the distant. I was convinced I could see the curvature of the Earth because there were NO clouds in the sky, only clouds RIGHT along the horizon (therefore they were the clouds from far, far away, I thought). I layed there for a bit, and then all of a sudden Will goes “the clouds are attacking us!” I sat up and, sure enough they were moving closer and closer. Except they weren’t really clouds, they were fog clouds! It only took about half an hour before they completely engulfed us. It was ridiculous, you couldn’t see ANYTHING. There were some people swimming about 30 feet out from the shore, and you couldn’t even see them! A few boats went past, but you could only hear them. It was still pretty nice out, so we decided to stay there anyway. This also seemed quite Halloween-y…I half expected Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl to emerge out of the fog. That would have been awesome.

After the beach, Merete, Chryssi, Will and I took the short bus ride to Las Cuevas de Nerja (the Nerja Caves). As soon as we made it through the tiny cave door, I was completely shocked. I thought it was going to be very similar to the caves we had seen in Gibraltar, but these ones were way more impressive. Sadly, the section with the ancient cave paintings was not open to public because of cleaning. That didn’t really matter, because I loved the rest of it! There were so many cool looking stalactites and stalagmites! There was one HUGE one that was actually a column, made up of a stalactite and stalagmite that had connected. It is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest one! My camera didn’t really work very well indoors (without flash, go figure), but Will managed to get some REALLY good ones! I’ll have to steal those! Being in the creepy cave was yet another Halloween-y adventure for the day. We got back outside and sure enough, the fog was beginning to engulf the caves. Crazy Nerja.

We caught the next bus back to Nerja and wandered around before getting more Indian food for dinner. Yum! We watched the sun set from the Balcon de Europa and then hung out on the beach for a while. While we were wandering around, we saw a bunch of smaller kids dressed up, going trick-or-treating at the shops. Since all of the apartments are above the shops, the shop owners just hand out candy instead! That's kinda cool! They were all dressed up as vampires and zombies. The girls were all witches. Literally ALL of them were witches. I guess they don't have much choice over here! It was really funny to see this US tradition find it's way all the way to a small beach town. Oh, and I'd like to say I did not detect any anti-Christian vibes from those kids like the article I did my project on.

As fun as it was to watch all of them run around yelling "Happy Halloweeeeeeeen" (I considered teaching some of them "trick-or-treat", but I couldn't figure out how to explain WHY), I wanted to go to bed pretty early because I had quite the day planned for Sunday!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

So, Nerja says they have 320 days of sunshine a year. We managed to be there for two of the ones that isn’t. This didn’t really matter because it would have been super hot out if it wasn’t cloudy.

That morning, Will and I headed over to the Donkey Sanctuary that I had found online (thanks, Mom!). Merete and Chryssi decided to try their luck on the beach again. However, the hovering fog didn’t seem like it was going to let up anytime soon. I was SOOOOOO excited to see the donkeys, dogs, and other animals they had there. I really had no idea what to expect. We walked to the sanctuary from the hostal…it was only about a 10 minute walk! We got there and there was just one tiny little sign! The old lady opened the gate for us and her husband came over to greet us. I assume he was from England because he spoke perfect English! He handed us a (laminated) sheet that had the names and background information about all of the animals they had at the sanctuary. He showed us around the little office area, where there was a ton more information about maltreatment of donkeys, ways to help, information about adopting one, ect. Then the guy asked us if we wanted to feed them. OF COURSE! We gave him a donation and he handed me a LARGE bucket of chopped up carrots, potatoes, bread, plums, bananas, etc. Then he let us into the area where all the animals were. Most were kept in pens with one or a few other animals, but some were roaming free. Apparently after they close, they let all of them roam free, but while visitors are there, there are a few they want to keep separated. My favorite was this tiny black pig that came running over to me right away (Piggy!). He just stood there staring at me, so I handed him a carrot. He just kept looking at me, like I had done something stupid. So, I tried giving him a banana instead. He accepted that one. Apparently he doesn’t like his vegetables. Tisk, tisk. Calling someone a “pig” doesn’t have quite the same meaning. I guess pigs can be picky eaters too! This pig (Iggy, our sheet told us) kept following me around the whole time, even though he didn’t really seem to want much to eat. The donkeys LOVED anything and everything, and most of the horses really liked the bread. Iggy’s mom was HILARIOUS. She was ginormous…her belly literally hit the ground. She liked to stand right under this one horse’s hay that he was munching on, so she had hay piled up on her back. It was pretty funny to watch. One of my other favorite animals was this giant sheep that was roaming around. He didn’t want food at all. I tried to feed him numerous times, and he even had his head in the bucket a couple times, but he just liked smelling the food and following us around. Will had an amazing picture that depicts EXACTLY how the sheep looked at us when we tried to feed it. I can’t wait for those to get online! Another fun animal was this white donkey that tried to eat everything I tried to give to the other donkeys. He just wandered behind me and then would shove his head against me to try and get at either my bucket or the piece of food in my hand. He wasn’t mean about it, but it was really funny. I think he is in EVERY picture we have from there, because he just need THAT much attention! Haha. The donkeys were adorable. It was sad to read about where they had come from (some were abandoned, some were saved from abusive owners, etc.), but it was fun to see that they were being treated so well there! The guy at the front said “they may seem like they’re desperate for food, but they just love the attention more than anything.” So I made sure to pet each of them! There was one horse that was very misshapen. I guess it was forced to carry a lot of weight at a young age, and now it literally looked like someone had taken a giant bite out of its back. Some of the donkeys looked like they had similar problems, just not as severe. On my way out, I saw a humorous article they had about this called “get the fat asses off of the asses”. Not the nicest thing, but it got the point across. They also had a little pony that we couldn’t feed because it was on a special diet. It was SO cute! After we finished one bucket of food, we went and got another one! The lady seemed shocked that we wanted more, but happily gave us another heaping bucket. This time, it was Will’s turn to feed them. I got some good pictures of him with the little pig! Overall it was a ton of fun, and I decided that if it wasn’t nice out on Monday that I’d go back!

We went back to the Balcon de Europa and enjoyed the view for a bit. Then we just wandered around the small streets looking at all the fun restaurants and stores. We ended up eating at this little cafeteria where Will got Spaghetti Carbonera (with ham, oh no!). We spent a good part of the evening along the beach, looking for rocks (which were all beautiful and perfectly smooth from being washed around on shore so much). I still couldn’t believe that it was the 1st of November! Then Chryssi and Merete suggested this Flamenco show they had seen for pretty cheap the night before. It was just in this little bar and it was 6 Euros for a drink and admission to the show, so we decided to go. It was the same show that night as it was the night before, so Chryssi and Merete didn’t stay. The show was REALLY good. There were so many fun costume changes. It was 4 girls and 1 guy, and they were all really good! One of the girls really reminded me of Anna Danila for some reason. I think it was her facials while she danced, haha. Random.

Anyway, it was a really fun day and I really didn’t want to have to leave the next day!

Monday, November 2, 2009

NO MORE FOG! YAY! …Even though I secretly wanted it to be cloudy so we could go back to the Donkey Sanctuary! We packed up and checked out of the hostal and then made our way down to the beach. It wasn’t cloudy, but it sure was windy! This made for some rather large waves (in my opinion). Will convinced me to go body surfing/wave jumping with him, which was SO FUN (and very cold)! On my way back to shore, a huge wave hit me from behind and I got thrown into the sand. I got SO much sand in my swimsuit, it wasn’t even funny. I mean, I was a walking, talking, human sand-bag. Luckily there were some little porta-potties close by that helped me out a bit, but WOW. I didn’t know that was possible! We dried off and headed to the bus-stop around 4:00.

We made it home by 6:30 and then did some homework. We also ended up going to see the Michael Jackson’s This Is It movie because we figured we could still enjoy the weekend. The movie was in English with Spanish subtitles, which we realized was probably a good decision on their part because finding a Spanish double for Michael Jackson may prove to be quite difficult. The movie followed the rehearsals leading up to the final tour Michael was planning on doing. It had a ton of dancing (of course) and all of his most famous songs. It was really cool! I might even go see it again!